OPTICS

Optics is the study of the properties and behavior of light. In this section you can learn about everything from holograms to lasers and lenses.
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How Laser Analysis Works

A venerable work of art hangs lifeless in a museum, the once brilliant scene dulled by centuries of dirt and grime. Can laser analysis and modern art restoration techniques save the masterpiece?

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  • How much does light weigh?

    How much does light weigh?

    Seven ounces a ray! No, that's a lie. Measuring the weight of light is not as straightforward as that. So what's the more complicated explanation? See more »

  • How Scanning Electron Microscopes Work

    How Scanning Electron Microscopes Work

    Unlike the cheap microscopes you peered into in school, these advanced instruments can breathe rich detail into the tiny world around us, including the world of nanotechnology. See more »

  • How Telescopes Work

    How Telescopes Work

    For centuries, curious observers have probed the heavens with the aid of telescopes. Today, both amateur and professional scopes magnify images in a variety of ways. See more »

  • Invisibility Cloak For Real This Time?

    Invisibility Cloak For Real This Time?

    We first reported on the possibility of an invisibility cloak last year. Now a different invisibility cloak is making the news -- one that uses metamaterials to redirect light away from the wearer. See more »

  • Is it possible to make a cloaking device?

    Is it possible to make a cloaking device?

    A group of scientists from Duke University have demonstrated a simplified cloaking device. Learn about the cloaking device that the Duke scientists created and find out if a real-life cloaking device is actually possible. See more »

  • Is there a light 10 billion times brighter than the sun?

    Is there a light 10 billion times brighter than the sun?

    The Diamond synchrotron is a massive facility that houses a beam of light 10 billion times brighter than the sun. But is that all it does? See more »

  • Quiz: A Wardrobe of Invisible Cloaks

    Quiz: A Wardrobe of Invisible Cloaks

    That's quite a snazzy outfit you have on, but an invisibility cloak would totally complete the look. But which one will you choose from the wardrobe of invisibility? We better test your knowledge on the subject of invisibility in fiction and myth. See more »

  • Color

    Color

    Color, a class of sensations made by light on the optic nerve. All colors--whether seen in nature or applied by man with pigments through painting, dyeing, or printing--are caused by light and the way light affects the eyes. See more »

  • How do one-way mirrors work?

    How do one-way mirrors work?

    Just about everyone has seen a television show or movie in which a criminal suspect is questioned while detectives watch from behind a one-way mirror. How does a piece of glass manage to reflect light from one side while remaining clear on the other? See more »

  • How does a Fresnel lens work?

    How does a Fresnel lens work?

    I have a thin piece of plastic mounted on the back window of my RV. It magnifies things so I can see better when I'm backing up. How can such a thin piece of plastic magnify things? A regular glass magnifying lens would have to be curved on both sides and much thicker. See more »

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